Jul 31, 2019

Toy startup "Superplastic" raises $10 million in Series A funding

Source: Superplastic Instagram account

Superplastic, a Burlington, Vt.-based designer toy startup founded by Paul Budnitz (Ello, KidRobot), has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Craft Ventures.

Why it matters: This coincides with Superplastic trying to turn two of its most popular characters into virtual Instagram stars, a burgeoning niche.

  • Investors besides Craft Ventures include Global Village, Betaworks, Canaan Partners, Shrug Capital and angels like Cyan Bannister, Scott Belsky and Scooter Braun.

The bottom line:

"Superplastic wants to continue to make money with toy sales, but Butnitz said that the expansion into digital media was also opening up additional revenue opportunities. This includes licensing its characters, and also brand endorsement deals similar to those of Instagram influencers."
Janko Rottgers, Variety

Go deeper: Taylor Swift unloads on Scooter Braun's Big Machine deal

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Mobile shopping giant Wish raises $300 million in Series H funding

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Wish, a San Francisco-based mobile shopping giant, raised approximately $300 million in Series H funding at an $11.2 billion post-money valuation, led by General Atlantic.

Why it matters: Wish built much of its business by sourcing low-cost goods from China, but President Trump's tariffs threaten to upend some of those economics. That's why Wish's deal announcement highlights plans to expand its "merchant footprint in Europe and North America." Expect Amazon to use Wish as a competitive shield against monopoly claims, much like Facebook is trying to use TikTok.

Go deeper: Toy startup "Superplastic" raises $10 million in Series A funding

Taylor Swift will re-record old songs after Scooter Braun's Big Machine deal

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Amazon

Taylor Swift told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday that she'll re-record her old albums next year, which she says is contractually allowed.

The backdrop: The pop songstress expressed her anger last month over how her back catalog was purchased by Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings in a $300 million deal for Big Machine Label Group that was sponsored by The Carlyle Group.

Go deeperArrowAug 23, 2019

Senate confirms Kelly Craft as next UN ambassador

Kelly Craft on Capitol Hill in 2017. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Kelly Craft

Kelly Craft, currently the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, was confirmed to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Craft's confirmation ends a key diplomatic vacancy that stretched on for over 7 months, following Nikki Haley's resignation. Craft, a GOP activist, "will be [the] first major political donor to occupy the top U.N. post for any administration," the AP reports.

Go deeper: McConnell recommends Kelly Craft to Trump for UN ambassador

Keep ReadingArrowJul 31, 2019